4 Best Websites To Get Ebooks (Affordable, Cheap and Free)
My sister stared down at me. Next to her were two large boxes filled with my books.
“You need to get rid of this,” she said sternly.
“I’ll have to go through it first.”
“Go through it, then make it disappear,” she did not budge.
I love my younger sister, but she can be brutal when it comes to any hoarding. Unfortunately, I am a hoarder, especially when it comes to physical books. I love how a book feels in my hand, the act of flipping its pages and ensuring there is no crack on its spine. I also love how books smell. But when I glanced over at the boxes filled with books, three-quarters of it still unread, I knew I needed to change the way I approached books.
While I have embraced ebooks, I still do buy physical books occasionally. However, unless it is a book that I will always go back to, it is likely to sit on the shelf, collecting dust and get “book measles”.
If you face this predicament, you’ll probably have to wean yourself from physical books and the urge to buy them and try (baby steps, my dear) ebooks. What better way than to transition than through affordable, cheap, and free ones!
1. Book Bub
When I was younger, I spent hours in the bookstore, reading books that I don’t have money to buy. I used to know what are the bestsellers and which ones were hot off the press. Unfortunately, adulting does not grant me such liberties because I often am pressed for time. While I certainly have a better budget for books now, I don’t know what book I’d enjoy reading – but thank God for BookBub – #notsponsored.
So, this brilliant site recommends free and discounted ebooks according to your preferred genre. The list is refreshed daily, and they are on offer for a limited time only.
When you first register, they will ask you to select the types of genres you prefer to read. You can also choose to ‘follow’ your favourite authors, so you can be alerted if their books go on the discount list. All the books are either free or priced at USD 0.99, USD 1.99, or USD 2.99; approximately RM 4, RM 8, or RM 12 respectively.
They have books from all genres and are linked to Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple Books, Google Play, and Kobo. Download the file based on where you want to read it. As of now, I am enjoying it so much I have not found a setback – yet!
Our national library’s ebook selection offers many local titles – as expected.
They have a myriad of Malay titles, some academic books, and subjects concerning the Islamic religion. I, however, have taken a liking to borrow recipe books from this e-library. You see, many online recipes teach the world how to make a million types of pasta, but if I want to make Ayam Masak Lemak or a local dish I cannot recall but only remember what it looks like, I lean on this crutch.
Of course, they have a few New York Best Sellers on this list, but I have yet to borrow any of them because they are always not available. The frustration brings me back to my school days when new sets of chick lits don’t last a minute on the shelf as they are quickly picked up by another eagle-eyed student.
Keen to borrow ebooks here? Do note that you’ll have to sign up for a free membership and download the software (for desktop) or mobile app before you can borrow any books. The borrowed book will automatically be returned after your time is up.
For those who enjoy reading Western classics and poetry collections, Project Gutenberg is where you should set your eyes on. All the 60,000 books (and growing) here are free for download. Plus, I believe most of the classics available here have never graced Malaysian bookstores!
Source: Project Gutenberg
Now, for those who only read current books, you might be disappointed. As the earliest books on record are probably from the 1950s, dating back to the 1700s. That said, if you have never picked up a classic, I encourage you to try it out. It is a whole new world where, despite the different styles of writing, will immerse you into its setting and present you with a range of vocabulary or delicate string of words that might stop you in your tracks to ponder on it (at least that is what happens to me).
One thing I like about Project Gutenberg is that I don’t have to create an account to get access to the ebooks. There is no need to download an app to read it. Just click on the title you want to read, select where you want to read it, and voila, the ebook will start its download, and you can start reading.
4. Open Library
I have a love-hate relationship with Open Library. I love it because it has a few copies of recently published books (by recent, I mean from the past few years) by New York Best Selling authors.
Therefore, when I am itching to read a particular book, I’ll log in to find an ebook copy to borrow. Half the time, it is available; the other half, well, I have to wait until a fellow reader returns it. But that is not the problem.
Source: Open Library
The only qualm is the mode of reading. I very much prefer to read on my smartphone when I am on the go. However, it does not download into my Adobe reader (it is the only compatible app), and hence, I have to read it online, trying my best to flip the page without moving the whole alignment of the book. It is much easier to read it on the desktop or a tablet.
To help you navigate better on this site, you can create a list of subjects or authors you are interested in. You can then view your list to check if there are any new updates or additions to Open Library based on the list.
After I began to actively read ebooks, I realised that I go through them much faster. As compared to if I were to indulge in physical books. In fact, I finished more books this year (after discovering the liberating convenience of ebooks) than I’ve done in the past year. The last time I finished five books a month was when I was in secondary school!
Ebooks take a little bit of getting used to, but the inconvenience is soooo minor. Once you are into a book, who cares how you are digesting the words? I am now an ebook convert because what is there not to love? I save space in my house, I save the money in my pocket and I save trees!
Now that you are aware of where to get some free books on your devices, why not add start reading! Check out this article that recommends you to Read These 5 Books To Feel Inspired To Go After Your Ambitions.